Mailbag: Traveling Abroad With Hoops

mailbagCharlene writes, “I will be travelling to Ireland (from Boston) next month and I really want to bring my collapsible hoop. Do you have any experience flying abroad with hoops? Any trouble going through customs? Should I check it with my suitcase or carryon?”

I have a collapsable hoop that I routinely pack inside my suitcase. The less I have to carry through an airport the better and I prefer avoiding any potential hassles while traveling. There have been times, however, like being stuck at an airport somewhere, that I’ve wished I had my hoop with me in a carry-on instead. While most hoopers seem to travel by air these days, internationally and domestically, without a problem, every now and then you hear a story about a security agent who hasn’t seen or heard of such a thing as a collapsable hoop. Plastic pipe can look a little suspicious. Remaining calm, polite and cooperative will work to your best advantage. We know hoopers who’ve had to give an impromptu hooping demonstration for security as well. If you’re going to carry a hoop on be sure to arrive at the airport earlier than you ordinarily would, just in case you run into any problems.

If you want to bring more than one hoop, simply put your hoops together and wrap them into one big “hoop” using plastic wrap – like Saran Wrap for example. Add a little tape to hold the wrap in place. Then you can check your hoops as a single baggage item without a problem. Security can see what you are bringing as well. You will most likely need to pay a baggage fee each way (typically $25) but you’ll have all the hoops you want with you at your final destination. Be aware, however, that some airports will classify them as an odd or oversize item and they may not turn up on the baggage ramp when you arrive. You might need to go to a baggage office to retrieve them.

5 thoughts on “Mailbag: Traveling Abroad With Hoops

  1. Don’t forget to SMILE!
    Don’t just give a demo, offer to teach them how to hoop!
    Also it can be good to have photos on your phone or wallet to show them the hoop you are traveling with in use. It can even be an opportunity to hand out a business card.

  2. I got a travel hoop all through China without a problem in my checked bag (and flights in and out of Australia, although arriving back in Australia the customs guys emptied my entire bag and waved my underwear around thanks to 48 hours spent in Tibet), to be honest we had more trouble getting deoderant into flights in China, people i was with had non-aerosal deoderant confiscated (I think in Kunming heading to Zhong Dian)

  3. I usually coil my two hoops down into a 20″ or so package. I carry them on the plane so that they are safe and with me and they usually fit under the seat in front of me or in the overhead bins. If you have to check your hoops as a bag, I suggest using a “sacrificial” beater hoop that is slightly bigger than your regular hoop(s) so that your hoop is protected. And if you are paying $25 each way to fly with them, you might as well take several. It makes for a sturdier package that is less likely to get kinked or damaged. i often will take hoops one way and leave them with the folks how hosted me as a gift. Feels good to travel home a little lighter (and will a fuller heart.)

  4. I brought a collapsible hoop to the Phillippines this last spring out of Boston. I brought it with my carry on. The only person who gave me a bit of attitude was a stewardess on the plane, but once she saw that my hoop fit in the overhead storage she got over it. Most people loved seeing a hoop in the airport.

  5. I fly with my hoops all the time and it’s a lot of fun. I have two homemade collapsible hoops – they’re just regular black irrigation tubing with two connectors instead of one. I collapse them down and fly with them as carry-ons. The post mentions “occasionally” encountering airport staff that has never heard of a collapsible hoop, but honestly, I’ve never met a TSA agent who HAS… As long as you’re prepared to smile and politely decline (or accept) invitations for a demonstration, you’ll be fine. I’m always running late at the airport, but if I ever get stranded somewhere, you can bet I’ll find myself a little corner to play for a while.

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